It is unquestionable that Sigur Ros are the kings sitting on the throne of post-rock, and nearly every release they've ever put out supports that. The further you go back, though, the more magical they seem to be. Sigur Ros captured pure emotion in Ágætis Byrjun, showing how post-rock could transcend the average song as they advanced the movement of the genre.
Ágætis Byrjun is an ode to joy. The calming waves of the 'Intro' track lead smoothly into the waves of soothing sound that come in 'Svefn-g-englar,' which are all the more encapsulating with the faraway reverb. The ethereal and blissful sound sets up the record, though the tense end does add a bit of drama into the fray. 'Starálfur' doesn't let a feeling of unease linger though, Sigur Ros delivering something that can't be described as anything less than gorgeous. It's heavenly chords and consonance resonates so perfectly, it's almost as if it was the sound of heaven itself. Other tracks have comparable beauty, such as the pleading 'Flugufrelsarinn' and the end of 'Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása.'
Sigur Ros have a way of making their music feel like a true representation of a specific emotion. Every track in Ágætis Byrjun defines its own sound, and sometimes that sound is unique to Sigur Ros alone. 'Olsen Olsen' is the sound of blissful ghosts on their way to a pleasant afterlife, while 'Hjartað Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm)' is much more haunting and brooding, while still coming with a lovely build. 'Ný Batterí' is more mysterious with the use of an orchestra. Title track 'Ágætis Byrjun' carries the record to a close with a sweet drive, as if the song is chasing after something it can't wait to catch up to. 'Avalon' closes the record like a memory just out of reach, but close enough to radiate its warmth; it's oppressive, but in all the right ways.
Sigur Ros captures pure emotion in Ágætis Byrjun, capturing beautifully pristine and unique ideas and feelings in such perfect sonic representations. Post-rock has become the way to define these complex emotions or stories we sometimes feel, and it's all thanks to Sigur Ros defining that path for all artists to come.
Favorite Tracks: Starálfur, Flugfrelsarinn, Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása, Hjartað Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm)
Least Favorite Track: Olsen Olsen
Rating: 84 / 100
Stream or buy Ágætis Byrjun on Apple Music, and follow our Throwback Playlist on Spotify: